Community Development Officer for Chikhwawa District Council, Hilda Sambakunsi has encouraged rural women in the district to form Village Saving Loans (VSL) groups to access loans from micro-finance institutions very easily.
Sambakunsi made the remarks during an interface meeting organized by Blantyre Synod to evaluate how Economic Empowerment of Women (EEW) project has helped rural women to access loans from micro-finance institutions.
“If rural women belong to VSL groups, it will be very easy for them as a group to apply for loans from micro-finance institution to boost their business capitals,” she said.
Chikhwawa Community Development Officer also encouraged rural women to venture into production business for them to be able to access loans very easily and at the same time empowering themselves economically.
On his part OIBM Branch Manager for Nchalo, Chiumia Chawinga said concurred with Sambakunsi as he said the major collateral for the rural people to access loans very easily is for them to form a group which is coherence.
“OIBM also provides orientation to VSL members on how they can boost up their businesses and our collateral is 15 percent for particular individual in the group. For instance, Eagles Relief and Development approached OIBM to help its VSL groups to open their accounts and it happened,” he said.
He said the VSL members who have open account with the bank are easily accessing loans.
Chawinga said OIBM has been receiving overwhelming support from rural masses in Chikhwawa and that’s why the bank is intending to open its permanent branch at Nchalo Trading Centre.
Blantyre Synod Project Coordinator, Gregory Mtemanyama said his organization would continue engaging with various micro-finance institutions to soften their loans conditions to accommodate rural women to access loans.
“Over 500 women in the area of Paramount Lundu in Chikhwawa are struggling to get loans due to tough conditions by lending institutions. Another challenge for rural women not to prosper is lack of marketing because most of them are doing similar businesses,” said Mtemanyama.